Years ago I went on a girl’s trip with friend and neighbor Lisa. Lisa is a head-turning blond with a brilliant smile and a rip-roaring sense of humor. Our journey was from Chicago to Philadelphia. I had experienced Lisa garnering ALL the attention everywhere we went. I decided I darn well wanted that attention focused on me, not her.
I told Lisa I wouldn’t travel with her unless I could be the blond. She had to be something else. Lisa, always game for fun, happily agreed. We took a field trip to Carson Pirie Scott. Our intention: To buy wigs.
We rode the store elevator to the second floor, tried on wigs, purchased two and giggled the whole way to the car. Our wigs must have been some sort of plastic because the sales woman told us not to stand too close to a grill.
Travel day came. I had decreed Lisa was not allowed to wear sexy stuff. She was to be a conservative brunette. It was my day to shine. On travel day Lisa was wearing long pants, leather jacket, and her plastic page-boy brunette bob. As for me? I had on four-inch heels, false lashes and a glorious bubble-cut blond wig that made me look oh-so-sexy.
At O’Hare, while seated at the gate, I noticed a man dressed in a United uniform. Suddenly something other that Alice inhabited my soul. I became “vapid-blond-whispering-wig-wearing-Marilyn Monroe wanna’ be”.
I walked up to the United uniform guy and asked, in a strange breathy whisper, “….Are you our captain?” He hesitated for a moment then stammered, “No…but I’m a pilot….and I’m divorced.” Alice, now strangely morphed into a hot-mess wig wearing Marilyn Monroe, replied, “Oh…that’s so sad. Maybe we can talk about it someday.”
At that point Lisa, my wig-wearing sensible brunette companion, yanked me by the arm and pulled me back to our chuckling reality.
We boarded the plane. We were seated three in a row of three. Lisa was on the aisle, I was in the middle with some nice normal woman by the window. No sooner did we take-off than my pilot began sending us Bloody Marys.
From out of no where, strange hot-mess Marilyn resurfaced and began making small talk with nice-normal woman.
In my newly adopted Monroe whisper I asked her if she had ever been to Philadelphia. She replied she hadn’t. I, hot-mess Marilyn, responded, “Oh my gosh. You won’t simply believe Philadelphia. When you go there at first it looks so wee-teeny! But as the plane gets lower the city simply grows and grows. By the time you are on the ground it’s utterly enormous.”
At this point Lisa leaned across me, and stated, in a curiously adopted European accent, “You’ll have to ignore my little friend. She’s a tiny bit slow.”
Upon landing Lisa and I stopped into the ladies room to tuck our hair back into our wigs. We were being met by a friend–that was before 9/11 when friends could still meet you at the gate.
He had waited for every last person to exit the airplane. Ultimately only the crew was departing. He stopped them, asking “Was there a red-head with a blond on your flight?” Their response, “No, but we saw two women wearing wigs. They could easily have been in a Woody Allen film.”
That night the two of us fell asleep, whispering across the divide between beds, laughing and recounting our crazy adventure.
I love that experience. It was magnificent craziness. It’s rare to stumble across someone so willing to cross the line into madness. I doubt I’d do it now, but I’m forever delighted I did it way back then.